PHILADELPHIA — Greetings from Day 2 of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Here are a few things Brough and I’ll be keeping an eye on as we take in rounds two through seven from the draft floor…
— Will Ottawa make a move? All was quiet on the Jason Spezza front yesterday as the Sens watched Vancouver flip Ryan Kesler to Anaheim, removing one of the rumored suitors for Spezza in the process. That said, there are still a number of teams needing a center and believed to be in the Spezza mix, including St. Louis — who, it should be mentioned, has eight picks today and two in the second round.
— When will the first goalie be selected? Last year, Montreal made Zach Fucale the first netminder taken with the sixth pick (36th overall) in Round 2; today, it’ll be interesting to see where NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked netminder — Boston College’s Thatcher Demko — gets snapped up.
— How many deals will get done? It’s hard to use the ’13 Draft as a comparison because the entire thing was conducted on one day but, two years ago in Pittsburgh, a pair of noteworthy trades happened on Day 2: Luke Schenn went to Philly for James van Riemsdyk, and Benoit Pouliot went to Tampa Bay for a pick and a prospect. We also saw negotiating rights change hands (Winnipeg acquired Jonas Gustavsson), though that’s less likely to happen today given teams are now able to contact players headed for free agency on July 1.
— Will yesterday’s cap number force some teams to adjust? Per CapGeek, the $69 million ceiling means Chicago and Philly are already over the cap; Boston (who is still working on a new deal for Jarome Iginla) and Los Angeles are both within $4 million of hitting the roof, so to speak.
— Will another buyout be used? Yesterday, the Sharks confirmed they’d use one of their two compliance buyouts on Martin Havlat while the Coyotes used a standard buyout on Mike Ribeiro. With just two days remaining before the amnesty window closes, it’s possible someone else pulls the trigger before things are done at Wells Fargo.
Should be a fun day. Stay tuned to PHT for all the latest from Philly…
It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.
In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.
Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:
You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.
The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.
As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.
In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.
That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.
Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.
The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.
The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.
So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.
He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:
The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).
In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):
Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone.
So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.
Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.
Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?